Africa’s Premier Novel Turns 15

Alex Nderitu the author

Africa’s Premier Novel Turns 15

‘Pre-Internet, the only way you could succeed as an author was to get signed by a major publishing house because they controlled all the distribution. But now, you can write a book yourself, publish it yourself, market it yourself and keep all the money.’ – Stacy Johnson of

In November 2001, a young Kenyan novelist with a background in IT published a novel entitled, ‘When the Whirlwind Passes’ online. This made it arguably Africa’s first e-novel and the author, Alexander Nderitu, has since published three more e-books and gained literary recognition. In November, When the Whirlwind Passes’ clocked 15 years of existence. To celebrate, the crime/suspense novel has been re-issued, with a new cover, new ISBN number, and various edits.

About the new edition:

Plot summary:  A red-hot romance between a young fashion dynasty heir and a ghetto princess ends up in the murder case of the decade.

Type: General Fiction

Genre: Crime

Size: 166 pages

Cost: USD$ 5.00 (e-book), USD 12.50 (paperback), Kshs 150.00 (in Kenya)

Format: Print (via POD), Adobe PDF, E-PUB, Amazon AZW, et al.

Distribution: Author’s official website and (Print): (e-book):

Kenyan e-book:

Author video link:

Author photos link:

The literary landscape has changed drastically over the last 15 years. Some of the outstanding changes include:

  • E-readers like the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook have revolutionized the reading experience. A typical e-reader can hold hundreds of books – a virtual library – and weigh less than the average paperback.


  • Publishers and booksellers of digital books have mushroomed – as have online bookstores (that may deal in physical books, but are themselves virtual).
  • Print-On-Demand technology has bridged the gap between e-books and physical books. If a reader wants a single copy of an e-book on a platform like or Amazon CreateSpace, then he can pay in advance and the book will be manufactured and sent to them.
  • Young writers have taken to the Internet like ducks to water. Internet and social media have become the place to share and promote one’s work and events, as well as get the latest literary news and gossip.
  •  Bloggers have become the new literary critics. Some blogs like BrittlePaper and focus entirely on African lit. Some authors also double up as bloggers and engage in literary criticism, review or promotion:

‘With the shift to digital, reaching out to amateur and professional bloggers seems like a natural evolution in the way we market books.’ – ‘Penguin Canada recruiting bloggers to review its books’ (article)